Something very strange is going on at San Diego State – the football team is winning games and the basketball team is ranked for the first time ever.

Yes, I said first time ever. That alone should tell you how sad the Aztecs’ basketball history has been. If it doesn’t, let me throw in this tidbit: San Diego State has never won a single NCAA tournament game.

And if you still need further information to drum in the point, there’s this: Tony Gwynn still ranks as one of the top five best-known players in San Diego State history.

Yeah, that Tony Gwynn. The baseball Hall of Famer was a solid point guard in college 30 years ago.

Anyway, the Aztecs are ranked 25th in this season’s initial Associated Press poll. It has taken Steve Fisher 12 seasons to get San Diego State into the polls. He took over a horrible program that won five games in his first season and now has them positioned to finally win an NCAA tournament game.

“This is a testament to the program we have established,” Fisher said in a school press release. “This is not only about what we were able to accomplish last season, but the success that we have been able to sustain over a period of years. I think people now look at this program as one that is not only good regionally, but one that can compete on a national level.”

San Diego State was tabbed as the preseason favorite in the Mountain West, a good league that sent four teams to the NCAA tourney last season. The Aztecs have a future NBA first-round pick in sophomore forward Kawhi Leonard, who will never be around for four college seasons.

Senior starters Malcolm Thomas, Billy White and D.J. Gay are all back from a team that went 25-9 last season and lost to Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Aztecs will get stiff competition in the Mountain West from Brigham Young (star guard Jimmer Fredette is back), UNLV (star guard Tre’Von Willis got a light suspension for a summer assault incident) and New Mexico (UCLA transfer Drew Gordon figures to make an immediate impact).

Colorado State is making strides but went 0-9 against the top four teams last season. Utah has a junior-college heavy team after double-digit scorers Carlon Brown and Marshall Henderson transferred. Wyoming gets injured Afam Muojeke back. TCU welcomes Virginia Tech transfer Hank Thorns into the mix. Air Force again has no hope.

For a stellar look at the Mountain West shortly after practices began, click here: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/mensbasketball/mwest/home.htm

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